Class of 2005 Prospect - MS OL Josh McNeil

Josh McNeil (6-foot-4, 275, 5.0), one of the top 100 players in the nation according to TheInsiders team of recruiting analysts, updates us on his top teams. He also discusses his feelings about Mississippi State, one of his six finalists.

Josh McNeil Profile

Josh is considered by TheInsiders team of experts as the top center in the nation. Based on the number of scholarship he has received, all written offers, college coaches feel the same way. "I have 16 (scholarship offers) now, Memphis offered a couple of weeks ago," said Josh. He's also looking to receive another from a school that he is a fan of. "I sent a film to Florida State last week. I've always liked them. Hopefully, they will offer."

The burning question on recruiting fans' minds are which schools are currently at the top of his list. "Right now, the people that I'm looking at the most are Mississippi State, Florida, LSU, Tennessee, Ole Miss and Georgia," said Josh, who has unofficially visited LSU, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi State this summer.

Josh also has some specifics things that he is looking for in a school. "I'm going to watch some games this season and look at the style of their offenses," Josh explained. "I want to go to a team that is very aggressive because I kind of consider myself an old school player. I just like to get out there and get after it. Plus, the overall facilities, coaches and depth chart will also factor in."

Josh, whose older brother Chris McNeil is the starting center for Mississippi State, talked about Mississippi State, in particular head football coach Sylvester Croom. Does Coach Croom fit what he is looking for in a coach? "Yes sir, definitely." He explained why. "He played center under (former Alabama head coach) Bear Bryant, so he's going to know how to be aggressive. He tells the Mississippi State players everyday that you have to be aggressive and show a lot of heart. I like that about him a lot. I think if you are going to play for Coach Croom you have to be a well-disciplined young man because he is not going to deal with people being irresponsible. He expects you to do everything the right way."

And that is exactly how Josh sees himself as a player and a person. "If you are there and are on scholarship, you need to be in class and take care of business and do what you are supposed to do," said Josh, an excellent student in the classroom.

Coach Croom is not the only coach at Mississippi State that has impressed him. He also said he likes what he has seen from Mississippi State offensive line coach, J. B. Grimes. "He is all about effort, work hard, don't make very many mistakes," said Josh. "Just get out there and get it done is kind of his philosophy."

Another factor that is a positive for Mississippi State is where they have Josh ranked on their recruiting board. "They told me that I was at the top (of their recruiting board)," said Josh. "They said that I am the guy they want. Being their top guy is an important factor. A recruit being number 1, that is a very big deal because you want to know attention is being paid to you. It makes you feel like they want you real bad."

A lot of people also believe having a brother at one of the schools that you are considering is a major advantage for that school. Josh understands that, but also sees it from another perspective. "Him just being there and me knowing more about Mississippi State, that will factor into it just because I know more about what goes on there everyday. But as far as Chris being a player up there, that won't factor in because he will only have one more year and we wouldn't really get to play with each other."

Since Chris and his backup, Avery House, will only be at Mississippi State for Josh's first year, will that play a factor in his decision, especially from the depth chart perspective? "The depth chart situation at Mississippi State is a very good situation for me as far as being a center," said Josh. "You have Chris who will be starting the next two years, then, after that, they will need somebody."

Since Josh probably talks to Chris most everyday, what are some of the things Chris is telling him about Mississippi State? "He likes the overall team attitude and says it is a lot better this year," said Josh. "There is a lot of team unity. It is kind of like a big family. He thinks they are going to do a lot of positive things this year."

Being a highly recruited football player probably seems like a dream come true to most people. While Josh understand that viewpoint, he sees it from the other side as well. "Recruiting is kind of a blessing and a curse," said Josh. "You are blessed because you get your college paid for. But a lot of people don't realize how tough it is to make your decision because you develop a relationship with a lot of the coaches. It will be hard to tell them no, but you have to decide what is best (for you) and don't look back on your decision."


Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on TheInsiders.com sports network. You can contact him by email at swindoll@genespage.com.

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